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Reader Comment: Nikon D4 vs Nikon D800

Alfred C writes:

I've thought a lot lately about your musings on the value of the D4. I would put it this way: If you do event coverage (or journalism) and are trained to carry two bodies mounted at all times, it is highly unlikely that you want both those bodies capturing 36 MP all the time. High megapixels is desirable for certain shots, such as wides and groups, but to bring home that much data (or even worse to transmit it) from both bodies just would not make sense.

That is why I decided to replace my Pair of D3s bodies with a D4/D800 combo. The lingering question is which my third spare body will be. All the niceties of a full pro body also add up, from the more compact build quality (versus D800+MB-D12) to the software configuration options that they withhold from the lower bodies.

I love, for example, that I can still configure the D4 to zoom what I consider to be the "correct" way that I first learned from the original Canon 1D; I have never liked two button zoom.

Also, after many years, the D4 offers the option to separate flash exposure compensation from ambient exposure compensation via custom function e4. The D3s did not have this. The only way to approximate e4 in Nikonland up until now has been via using Manual mode (which frankly I will probably still do most of the time). However, IIRC, it has been easy to do this on Canon bodies for a long time. It amazes me that Nikon continues to deny this feature to the D800, but at least I can be happy to have it on the D4.

Small but significant details like this (without even breaching the networking features) send a clear signal that they see the D4 (and probably future D4x) as the serious event photographer's choice.

DIGLLOYD: specific features matter for specific uses, in short a camera needs to be the best camera for the job at hand, which might have little to do with megapixels.

It’s a pity that the D800/D800 do not offer “sRAW” of various reduced sizes.

Still, as noted in my review, the D4 doesn’t solve any shooting situations for me, though I do like it very much for its build quality and operation.

One interesting note from a stills (product) photographer I heard was just how much better D800 files were to work with when retouching fine details.

Nikon D4 (front) and D800 (rear)

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